Kweku Abimbola

Born in the Gambia in 1997, Kweku Abimbola earned his MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. He is of Gambian, Ghanaian, and Sierra Leonean descent.

Abimbola’s first full-length poetry collection, Saltwater Demands a Psalm, was published by Graywolf Press in 2023. In 2022, the début collection was selected by Tyehimba Jess to receive the Academy of American Poets’ First Book Award. In his citation, Jess praised Saltwater Demands a Psalm as “a healing, a diasporic divination, an elegy of ancestral elegance.” Abimbola was a finalist for the 2021 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and the second-place winner of the Furious Flower 2020 poetry contest. He has had work published in Shade Literary Arts, 20.35 Africa, The Common, Obsidian, SUNU Journal, and elsewhere.

Abimbola’s writing primarily investigates colonization, Black mourning, Black boyhood, Black aliveness, gender politics, and the spiritual consequences of climate change in West Africa. He has worked as a teaching artist for the literary nonprofit Inside Out Literary Arts and lectured in English and creative writing at the University of Michigan. Abimbola is currently a visiting assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of Tampa.